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Anxiety This forum is for seeking advice on anxiety and stress related issues.

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  (#1 (permalink)) Old
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Unhappy TB Test Incident, Aftermath, and Recovery(?) - November 24th 2017, 04:33 AM

This thread has been labeled as triggering by the original poster or by a Moderator. Please take this into consideration before continuing to read.

Note: Wasn't sure if this needed a trigger warning, but given it's something I consider traumatic, I figured it's best to put one just in case.

Hey everyone.

I want to start by saying this will probably be a bit of a long post; I will highly appreciate your time in reading all of it. I could use some support right now

In late September, I posted a thread about my needle phobia really being problematic in regards to a requirement that I get a TB test for the internship I'm in. I managed to have the procedure done (somehow), but it did not go well at all. I imagine most of you know the story of what happened by now, but I'll go through it here just in case :P

After several weeks of anxiety (including at least two instances where part of me seriously considered resigning from my internship), I arrived at the clinic on campus feeling determined with my best friend in tow. I checked in and then the nurse called me back. I immediately told her that I am phobic of needles, and she thanked me for letting her know. As I was getting settled in the room, I told her I would need some time. She said she could give me time "but not all day".

Within a couple minutes, I was feeling rushed, and I again asked her not to rush me. She seemed to back off briefly but then continued pressuring me, reminding me at regular intervals of the short time allocated for the appointment. She even went as far as to ask my best friend what he could do to help me be ready for her to do the procedure...I was kinda taken aback by this, but didn't really say anything in protest.

After about 15 minutes of feeling pressured, in which I couldn't focus on anything else but the need to get it done soon (and thus couldn't even begin to relax or feel safe), I finally relented under the pressure and gave her permission to give me the injection. It seemed that neither my friend nor I could come up with anything to discuss (I was WAY too distressed to think straight), and so even while holding his hand I felt extremely vulnerable and afraid. I let out a little scream/yell as she cleaned off my arm and then she stuck me...it was extremely painful. All I was saying was "ow", probably about eight or 10 times, and I'm pretty sure I was squeezing my friend's hand for dear life. The nurse didn't say a single word to try to comfort me while I was clearly in significant physical and emotional distress. I felt like it just wasn't going to end, and it finally did. (By the way, my body's response during this was the worst it's been in years; I felt like I was on the verge of having a full-on panic attack or something...I certainly must've come close to hyperventilating). The first words out of my mouth were "oh my god!"

One of the other nurses opened a room for me to lie down in because I was feeling slightly lightheaded due to the anti-anxiety meds I'd taken (they sure weren't enough on this day). About 15 minutes later the original nurse came in to take my blood pressure again. (The first couple times it was pretty high...WONDER WHY!!) During that, she made a couple rather condescending comments, which at the time I laughed off because I guess I felt for social appropriateness I needed to, and also I was in no mood to get into it with her. She at one point said that she really felt she needed me to work with her because I never would have been ready on my own; when I told her I WOULD have been able to with time, she said something like "Around lunch time, right?". She also mentioned at one point that I was her "challenging patient" or "difficult patient" (or something like that) for the day...wow...seems like she was a difficult nurse!

I left feeling somewhat happy for achieving what I'd set out to do, but it was much more dampened than normal. As my friend and I ate lunch afterward, I noticed I was still feeling anxious...unlike what I'd been telling myself (basically, that I would be just fine after it was done with), I did not feel okay. When I got to class that afternoon, I felt I couldn't focus, and it all just hit me like a ton of bricks. I went in a hallway and cried for a while; a classmate came and comforted me...I ended up skipping the remainder of that class and the one I had later that afternoon in favor of talking with my internship supervisor about what happened.

I ended up sending an email to the director of our department, who forwarded it to HER boss (who oversees our department AND the clinic), who passed it on to the nursing supervisor. I was informed that they held a training on this, and that's all I heard. At someone's suggestion, I filled out a Patient Feedback Form and submitted that as well; the nursing supervisor left me a voicemail about 24 hours later and the following day I went and met with her. The nursing supervisor very emphatically apologized for what had transpired and said she doesn't want it happening again. She assured me that there was extensive new training, which someone was able to apply about a week before our conversation, and that the nurse who gave me the injection has been told not to do any more procedures on me. The supervisor also seemed very understanding in general and she told me that I can always ask for her (the supervisor) should anything go south in the future.

I finally feel that I've taken a first step towards healing and recovering, in that I've been heard and understood, but I'm still not sure where to go from here. It is still very vivid in many ways -- very fresh, very real, very disturbing.

I also am in the process of switching primary doctors (this has nothing to do with the aforementioned incident). After what has happened, I feel more strongly than ever that I MUST see a doctor who is very caring, understanding, and accommodating in regard to my phobia (or any other worries I have about procedures). I want to see this new doctor early next month if possible, and I've decided I want to tell her kind of right out the gate about this experience and my phobia in general as a sort of "litmus test" if you will. If she says anything insensitive or unaccommodating, I don't want anything to do with her. That said, I'm in a kind of tender/raw state right now; my wounds are only just beginning to heal, and I'm afraid of being hurt by her not being understanding about it. I'm worried that I won't be taken seriously or that (once again) my needs will be considered second to efficiency. It feels like a very vulnerable discussion to have.

I just feel like this has derailed my progress, my confidence, and my (limited) sense of safety and trust that I've been building up with the medical community through positive experiences. I don't know how to heal. I don't know how to actually "let go" of this, or if I'm SUPPOSED to be letting go. I don't want this to haunt me forever...I don't want to shut down and refuse to face this ever again for fear of being violated and emotionally hurt. But sometimes I feel like that's what I SHOULD do, like that's the safest and most peaceful option.

Just...please hold me and do whatever you can to support me...thanks in advance.


Chris
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last updated on 11/11/17
   
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Re: TB Test Incident, Aftermath, and Recovery(?) - November 24th 2017, 09:20 PM

Sorry to hear about your experiences with the TB shot and the nurse. I can't imagine the level of fear you must have had but it's brilliant that you still went ahead with it. It does sound like the nurse was insensitive of your needs. Even if there was a limited amount of time, she could've been more sensitive and accommodating. And afterwards, she shouldn't have been condescending, and understandably you would try to laugh it off rather than try to explain to her the seriousness of your phobia and risk tensions rising. There's a good chance she didn't understand how bad a phobia of needles can be, but it's reassuring to know that your concerns were taken seriously and that the nurses will be having training, as well as the fact that you won't have to get treated by that nurse again.

The phobia combined with the insensitivity would've put a dampener on your success in getting through the shot. It sounds like you needed some time to yourself and get the emotions out, and I'm glad that a classmate was there to comfort you.

Understandably, this would still feel fresh and raw to you, and when switching doctors, you would want to make sure that a new doctor will be accommodating and understanding. You have every right to want to find a doctor who meets your needs- after all, they are there to treat you and treatment works best if both patient and doctor are able to communicate effectively and take needs into consideration. Since it's still fresh in your mind, maybe try not to rush meeting with a new doctor? As with any profession, there may be doctors that you get on with and others that you don't. But if you do come across doctors who judge or don't take you seriously, remind yourself that it's their issue not yours.

Healing takes time, and can definitely have it's ups and downs. Naturally, it must feel like you have lost a bit of trust in the medical community. But be assured that not all professionals are like that and though it seems easier to shut down, it's best not to base the community as a whole on one professional. I notice that you use the words 'supposed to' and 'should' with regards to feelings and moving on. The truth is, there isn't any particular way that you should be dealing with this. Your feelings are your own, and if takes some time to calm and restore trust, that's fine. Shutting down and refusing to deal with similar situations may seem like a better option, simply because you won't deal with it again. But actually, it's more like avoidance which, while it appears to help in the short term, may be more of a hindrance in the long term when you may be faced with similar situations as the anxiety may only increase.

Hope you are okay


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Re: TB Test Incident, Aftermath, and Recovery(?) - December 5th 2017, 03:45 AM

Hey Holly,

Thanks for replying. I'm not trying to rush the appointment with my new doctor, exactly, but I do have at least one medical issue that I need to attend to better (tendonitis in both thumbs) and so I'd like to see someone about that. While I'm at it, I might as well chat with her about my phobia and see if I think she'd be a good fit for me. I'm planning to call tomorrow, hopefully.

I just really does, in some ways, feel insurmountable to me. I feel like I'll never be able to fully let go of the physical and emotional pain and this experience will be a barrier to me in the future. I don't want it to be, but I feel like nothing I do will fully restore my trust or my equilibrium.


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Re: TB Test Incident, Aftermath, and Recovery(?) - December 5th 2017, 07:27 PM

I understand. It makes sense that if you have other medical concerns then you'd want to chat about your phobia to see if it's a good fit. I guess there's nothing necessarily wrong with that. Best of luck!

After such an experience, I understand that this will be a barrier for you, and that right now, it feels like your trust will never be restored. But give it time, and maybe with positive experiences, trust will slowly be restored, even if it's not how it was before.


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Re: TB Test Incident, Aftermath, and Recovery(?) - December 13th 2017, 03:02 PM

I dunno...I had a bad breakdown last night surrounding this experience, kinda out of the blue. I feel like I can't face my fear again...I just can't.


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Re: TB Test Incident, Aftermath, and Recovery(?) - December 13th 2017, 03:15 PM

Hey, I'm not all that great at support, but I feel your pain here. I have a serious needle phobia too. The situation you've described sound terrifying, and I'm here to talk to if you need to.
   
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Re: TB Test Incident, Aftermath, and Recovery(?) - December 13th 2017, 03:27 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Virgil View Post
Hey, I'm not all that great at support, but I feel your pain here. I have a serious needle phobia too. The situation you've described sound terrifying, and I'm here to talk to if you need to.
Thanks. I'd love to talk through the chat room if you're free.


Chris
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last updated on 11/11/17
   
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Re: TB Test Incident, Aftermath, and Recovery(?) - December 13th 2017, 08:12 PM

You know a Nurse f anyone should have been way more compassionate and supportive towards while you are in obvious distress. They are trained for that. She definitely failed at that. I had a fear of needles early in life before I was diagnosed with Leukemia and then I had to get so many needles it pretty much became second nature to me. The anxiety however is awful and without someone helping you calm down it makes the experience 10 times worse. I am glad you were able to get the procedure completed but not under those circumstances. It should have been made much more easier for you. That Nurse should definitely be reprimanded for her actions.


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